PH envoy in US to push for stricter rules in selling gov't properties abroad | Global News

PH envoy in US to push for stricter rules in selling gov’t properties abroad

/ 09:43 PM July 13, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez on Wednesday said he plans to revive efforts to push for stricter rules in selling government properties abroad.

Romualdez lamented how government properties abroad were sold in previous years that could have benefited the Philippines in this time, saying he wants to push for a bill that would bar the selling of properties without Congress’ approval.

He said he had previously discussed with former Senator Panfilo Lacson III about a new law where all government properties abroad would be placed under one corporation that would take care of the properties.


“We were talking to then-Senator Lacson that we should come up with a new law that all properties would be placed under one government corporation that will take care of maintaining it and making sure that it is well-taken care of,” he said in a Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum.


“And at the same time it cannot be sold without the approval of the Philippine Congress, not just anyone who has crazy ideas of selling properties just like that, para sa akin ‘di tama ‘yun eh (for me, it is not right),” he added.

With the new 19th Congress, Romualdez said he is seeking for the support of his cousin, prospective House Speaker Leyte 1st District Rep. Martin Romualdez on his proposal.

“You know I’m very close to my cousin, the Speaker, I told him why don’t we try to put these together so I’m going to get back on to my files and see the resolution that we sent to Senator Lacson,” he said.

Romualdez said government properties abroad are also heritage sites, citing the Washington embassy residence where late former President Dwight Eisenhower signed an agreement with then-Ambassador Carlos Romulo.

“Our embassy residence in Washington, DC, that was a scene of many activities in the past,” he said.

The ambassador lamented the building in Union Square, San Francisco was sold at a cheap price before, saying that its value is already worth billions now.


“Nagkamali na nga tayo (We already made a mistake) when we sold the property in Union Square sa San Francisco, that was owned by GSIS, that building is now worth billions and binenta natin nang murang mura (we sold it for a cheap price), that’s what you called penny wise [but pound] foolish,” he said.

It can also be recalled that a property near the Kensington Palace in London, where the Philippine Embassy was previously located, was sold to Indian billionaire Lakshmi Mittal.

To remedy this issue, Romualdez earlier proposed the Philippine Overseas Properties Management Act where a body would be created that will be responsible for the maintenance, management, and disposition of overseas properties of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Under the proposal, the President would have to approve the disposition of properties abroad while Congress will be authorized to approve or disapprove the acquisition or sale of properties. – Xander Dave Ceballos, intern


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TAGS: abroad, ambassador Romualdez, Romualdez

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